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School Bus Safety Laws

316.615 School buses; physical requirements of drivers.—

(1)(a) All motor vehicles, with a seating capacity of 24 or more pupils, which are regularly used for the transportation of pupils to or from school, or to or from school activities, shall comply with the requirements for school buses of chapter 1006.

(b) For the purposes of this section the term “school” includes all public and private nursery, preelementary, elementary, and secondary level schools.

(c) A bus operated by an organization that holds a tax exemption pursuant to 26 U.S.C. s. 501(c)(3) is exempt from the color, pupil-warning-lamp-system, stop-arm, and crossing-arm requirements for school buses in chapter 1006 if:

1. The bus does not pick up pupils from home or deliver pupils to home;

2. The bus makes no intermittent stops to unload or load pupils; and

3. The bus is not operated by or under the purview of the state or political subdivision.

(2)(a) Every motor vehicle, except privately owned passenger motor vehicles and passenger motor vehicles owned or operated by governmental entities, with a seating capacity of less than 24 pupils, which is regularly used for the transportation of pupils to or from school, or to or from school activities, shall be equipped with the following:

1. Nonleaking exhaust system;

2. First-aid kit;

3. Fire extinguisher;

4. Unbroken safety glass on all windows;

5. Inside rear view mirror capable of giving the driver a clear view of motor vehicles approaching from the rear; and

6. Seats securely anchored.

(b) Such vehicles shall transport no more passengers than they are equipped to seat.

(3) A person may not operate or cause to be operated a motor vehicle covered by subsection (1) or subsection (2) when transporting school children unless the operator has met the physical examination requirements established by law and by rule of the State Board of Education. The operator of such a motor vehicle shall pass an annual physical examination and have posted in the vehicle a certificate to drive the vehicle.

(4) All school buses and all motor vehicles covered by subsections (1) and (2) must be covered by single limits liability insurance to protect pupils being transported, in the following amounts: $5,000 multiplied by the rated seating capacity of the vehicle, or $100,000, whichever is greater.

(5) Nonpublic school buses shall be allowed to deliver and pick up students either in the same areas as public school buses or in other areas adjacent to the public school bus delivery and pickup zones, as determined by the appropriate government entities.

(6) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.

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